Monday, May 7, 2012

The Avengers Strikes Gold...and so does Acura: Does Product Placement Work?

In case you have been living under a rock, hit movie The Avengers struck gold last weekend. It broke tons of box office records as fans ran to see the witty genius of Iron Man team up with demi-god Thor and the monstrous yet lovable Hulk, among other super heroes. Like many other box offices hits before it, the film featured tons of action, computer generated images, fight scenes, and classic character foil. What else did it include? Lots and lots of product placement. Brands from Oracle to Farmer's Insurance made appearances, according to Brand Channel's count. The most successful placement: Acura (do I have to include a spoiler's warning for saying that?) Anyway, an Acura SUV was featured right in the middle of a dramatic and energized action scene. The question is: does product placement work?

Marketers and fans have become familiar with product placement; so much in fact, that they have began to poke fun at it. However, according to Martin Lindstrom, author of several critically acclaimed marketing books including Buyology, product placement only works if it is prevalent and critical to the plot of the movie. What candy was used in the movie E.T.? What car does James Bond drive? What kind of car is Bumble Bee in Transformers? Chances are, you can name at least of few of these brands because you remember them playing a significant role in the movie. The results? Lindstrom proved that sales do significantly increase. [academic plug: the book overall is a very catchy and interesting read for all marketing majors] Other less important product placement has been proven less effective.

So, keep this in mind all of you aspiring Hollywood directors and future marketers. Can you think of other famous product placement that you remember?

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